Monday, 7 September 2009

Pink Adair

A loyal reader of this blog (there is one) noted a lack of inspiration on my part of late. She is partly right, but a trip to the idle folks in Somerset, (lunch at the pub with Lil and Elby - de rigeur for all discriminating vistors to East Somerset) and plans to become less idle have all been contributing factors.
Work? you splutter. Yes. The 0645 train beckons, and I plan to do my bit to put out those fires, still burning in the nation's banks, and return at least one of them to the private sector, with a profit for the taxpayer and considerable spondulicks for yours truly.
This is where Adair Turner comes in. Or shall we call him Lord Turner of Ecchinswell? (A title derived, surely, by the reaction of his former colleagues - Lord Turner? Feckin 'ell!)
You see, Adair is head of the FSA, and despite their utter incompetence over the past three years (bonuses all round for 2008, natch), this coiffured ponce has seen fit to declaim that the banking sector should shrink (already done that, thanks Ades) and meet some 'socially useful' target (sounds familiar? It's got NewLabour stamped on it). Oh, and a global tax. I would have thought that a man who made his name in that temple of flim-flam, McKinsey, before buggering up the only major pension review undertaken in god-knows-how-long, should deal with the plank in his own eye before pointing out specks in others'. (Remember that he subsequently wished he'd been more radical with his review and had recommended raising the state pension age to 70. That's right - not raising the public sector pension age from 60 to 65, but the OAP from 65 to 70. Wanker)
If the financial sector is too big in Britain (and mostly responsible, therefore, for producing the tax revenue fire-hosed upon Brown's client state of public services), the answer is not to tax and socially-engineer it into retreat, but to encourage those other areas of enterprise that used to be so productive in Britain. Sadly, as we are now a country that exists in order to sell mobile phones, capuccinos and overpriced dwellings to one another, but achieve little else, the die seems cast.
Brown, and by extension Turner, espoused 'light touch regulation' for the financial sector. They then divided this responsibility between three jealous and untrusting partners. Light touch became no touch, and mayhem ensued. Don't assume the City hates regulation - it doesn't mind it a bit, as long as it is clear and unambiguous. And that is what needs to come out of this. Not creating an incomes policy. Just a clear set of rules, subsequently enforced. (Does anyone remember the government sacking Fred Goodwin when it took over RBS? No, thought not. The man more closely associated with corporate greed and crazy risk-taking than anyone else in Britain was allowed to retire early. With THAT pension pot. Only public outrage caused the government to try to negotiate a less vomit-inducing deal with The Shred).
Adair Turner may find himself out of a job if the boy Osborne does what is necessary, and gets rid of the FSA. But he will be given a golden parachute and will achieve a soft landing with another sinecure. He's clever, by all accounts, and nice (a friend found himself on holiday for a week with Turner and the small Ecchinswells, and said he was charming), but competent he ain't.
Will this do, Pip?


electro-kevin said...

Would the French propose a global tax on wine or the Germans a global tax on prestige cars ?

(To paraphrase another, but sensible enough to me)

BTW - took my neighbour's young Jack Russell for a walk in the country today. We got on famously and he almost bagged his first pheasant. I see potential there - no need for a shotgun licence or burglar proof cabinet. He was happy with a sausage in the pub.

lilith said...

Now that's what I call a hair do:
of course they made him a Lord. I am deeply gratified that the taxpayer funds such follicular finery.

So good your talents have been spotted, Idle.

Scrobs... said...

That's an erudite piece Iders, clearly written by someone who actually understands money.

But I have one fear; how on earth are you going to catch the 06.45 every day?

idle said...

Scrobs, to quote my mother's godfather, who occasionally entertained her in London on breaks from boarding school:

"Telegram time of train arrival at Marylebone. If before 9am, I shall wait up for it".

William Gruff said...

Big banks, small banks, or a lot of very small holes at the bottoms of a lot of very small gardens. For most people the very temporary storage of very small amounts of money worth very little might prove less worrisome in the last.

melissa said...

Who are Lil and Elby?

Idle returning to the grind in the big city......hmmmm.

Hope you at least had a good summer drinking buckets of Rose and attending meetings at Goodwood.

Alceste said...

Excellent post, Idle.

I had never heard of Professor Andrew Morriss of the University of Illinois, but I like the sound of him. He wrote this to the FT:

"Once Lord Turner is done shrinking the financial industry down to “a socially reasonable size”, we Americans would appreciate it if he could next whittle down your aerospace and defence industries (which inconveniently compete with ours), your insurance industry (Lloyd’s is just too big for a country the size of Britain), and your energy industries (BP is much, much too large for you) to a more modest and appropriate size.

Perhaps the original Silly Party MP for Luton, Tarquin Fin-tim-lim-bim- whin-bim-lim-bus-stop-F’tang-F’tang-Olè-Biscuitbarrel, can be lured from retirement to help Lord Turner with this vital mission."

idle said...

Hello, melissa. Well done on mastering the comment thingy.

Lil is lilith - see above or go to

Elby is her man.

idle said...

Well done Morriss. (the extra S is a Pythonesque touch, too).

Good letter. Thanks, alceste.

Elby the Beserk said...

I am indeed her man, and our lunch with Idle and the good lady Idle was most pleasant; to be repeated one hopes, whenever they are back in these parts. Two pints of what the landlord called "the agricultural" (a red coloured local scrumpy) more or less did for me for the rest of the day.

Idle was a military man. Lil a Greenham Common girl. Myself a card-carrying hippy, prankster (ref. Ken Kesey) and ex (not card carrying) sort of soggy lefty (my socialism based on the "from each..., to each..") manifesto. We get on like a house on fire, and have, as someone once said, a lorra lorra laughs.

Philipa said...

Yes, that'll do nicely, Idle. Many thanks, I was interested to know what you thought of this chap and his recent behaviour.

R4 spun the story as if this nice Adair ('clever adair') was reigning in the nasty greedy bankers (tuh, bankers!) and they were complaining about it and him. I do think the banks should be reigned in and this is why:

State benefits are now paid by direct debit into a bank account. They used to be paid by giro through the post. This ensured that you had an address, lived there, and visited a post office on certain days (you could have some visits away but had to go back to your designated post office after a while). Whilst this cost in post and paper it ensured they knew where you were and could get hold of you - impact on immigration and crime.

It also meant that for the recipient money was easier to manage - you had it in your hand. It really is easier to manage that way, honestly, whatever bright ideas may tell you otherwise. Especially for people who are not that bright.

The State, in forcing people to have bank accounts in which to pay benefits into, have effectively state-sponsored banks and their overdraft charges. It's more difficult to manage money at a distance, especially when service providers give discounts for DD and you have to juggle dates, which invariably go awry. Mistakes and delays happen and when you are living so close to the wire it makes sense to have an overdraft. You only ever have a small overdraft on such an income and problems happen - you need spectacles, you buy your daughter a birthday present and vow to make it up later, the children need new shoes, you neeeed a holiday, a sofa, a bed, something. Bank holidays are the worst if a payment is due. Even the most well intentioned and careful of people can make mistakes, and so can the bank. Go over the overdraft limit and they charge £200 punitive charges. Every time a DD gets refused. This can happen 5 times in one day. It happened to me - I put money in the wrong account then changed it and the bank teller told me it would be fine. But the money transfer didn't go in my account straight away because the computers were down and the main computer showed a negative balance. I was slammed with charges that spiralled as I fought this. I lost.

So the State is causing a situation where banks can line their pockets with bread out of the mouths of the poor - people with money don't pay punitive charges, overdraft charges or interest in order to use a bank account. It's thousands, hundreds of thousands of poor people lining the pockets of banks. State sponsored. And it's wrong. Someone really should do something about it.

I remember the sacking of Fred the Shred. I want to say I'm a normal single mother on income support but my mother has always said I'm a bit odd. What she meant was that I'm not common, not average. Well I hope she did! So yes I remember that outrage but I don't know if anyone else did. Being rewarded like that for failure annoys me. The Chief Exec of a council has to take reponsibility for his actions. I think bankers should too.

I thought the pensions fiasco was dreadful. It may sound terribly socialist to you, Idle, but banks should have a responsibility to ALL their customers in providing a fair service. Punitive charges should cease. Benefits should not be forced through them, allowing them to more easily fleece the poor in state-sponsored extortion. And I'd like to see a return to Mr Mainwaring.

Public sector banks should be run for the good of the people, like a co-op was run maybe? And big bonuses should be a thing of the past.

Philipa said...

Great news about your new job, Idle. Am glad you are happily settled.

idle said...

You miss my point about Goodwin, pip. He was NOT sacked. He should have been, but the govt gave him the rich and easy way out. They did NOT sanction him, despite it being the most extreme case.

Philipa said...

Yes, I stand corrected, Idle.

Still disagree with state-sponsored extortion of the poor by the banking industry.

Philipa said...

Just seen on 'Working Lunch' that the Office of Fair Trading is putting pressure on this issue and the RBS group have reduced their overdraft and punitive charges.

Elby The Beserk said...

Indeed on Goodwin. And the Prime Moron, of course, got him knighted for services to wanking, sorry, banking.

I did think, however, that it was a bit rich of MPs to hammer him for doing what he was allowed to do, and then to whinge like buggery as they were being hammered for doing that they were allowed to do with their expenses, sorry, perquisites.

Elby The Beserk said...

EK. Pig got a deer in Longleat in the spring. Jaw fastened in a hind leg when I got to him and called him off. Both of us well bloodied when I got back to the van. Proud owner, I was, and praised him to high heaven so he knew he had not erred. He's a dab hand at springing pheasants as well, so it is time to apply for that shotgun license methinks

idle said...

I am delighted, if confused, that this comment thread includes info on the game-flushing activities of e-k's neighbour's jack russell, and elby's pig.

The idle dog is almost beyond such activity, but I dare say we'll give him a few light days this season so that he doesn't get depressed.

Philipa said...

I thought the point of a retreiver was to retrieve, not to wantonly savage any animal it can catch and have to be called off by it's owner. Or did you set him on the deer, Elby? Presumably you butchered the beast where it lay, hence the blood, and it was venison for a week? Yummy.

Philipa said...

Hey gorgeous, have now written mine own take on this over at my place. Thanks for writing this post, Idle.

Savonarola said...

Mrs Savonarola, watching C4 News the other night, shouted out to me "Who is that vain fellow with the perfumed look and 'hair'. I bet he has a personal hairdresser like Cherie Blair."

I explained that he was Lord Adair who was in charge of the banks. She said he would be better suited to a career at Toni and Guy.

rvi said...

Marginally off topic, but now that you are gainfully employed you may have to change the title of your blog. Something like The Early Bird Commuter or Happy days are here again, maybe?

Just a thought.

idle said...

Mrs Savo sounds a good sort.

rvi, whilst I appreciate the input, my feeling is that there is no reason why a banker should not be idle for much of the time.

rvi said...

Fairy Nuff! Quite so. Break out the deckchairs!

The Beast of Clerkenwell said...

6:45 and on the train?
Every F****** day?
Poor Fawkes is up at 6:30 making breakfast and I pity him, you have my complete sympathy.
I rarely roll out of bed before 9 AM .

Trubes said...

I totally agree with all you say Idle, loved the Lord Turner of 'Fecking 'ell'...Brilliant..made I larf.
I have commented on Pippy's site on a similar subject, so, I won't bore you, with my views again.

Good luck, with you new venture, I wish you well, and lots of spondulas!


Scrobs... said...

"The idle dog is almost beyond such activity, but I dare say we'll give him a few light days this season so that he doesn't get depressed."

Well, JRT has taken to sniffing badgers/cats/terrapins through the small gap at the bottom of our front door of late...

It's all down to her taking a course in Advanced Google earlier this year! Once we're logged on, there she is, paw on mouse, staring at the screen and quietly woofing at pictures of futuristic wild animal mutilations...

What does one call 'porn watched by animals' I ask?

I bet there's an answer, but it won't be easy!

Philipa said...


idle said...